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Chelsea turn down £20m bid for 19-year-old defensive rising star

Chelsea have turned down a £20m offer from Crystal Palace for highly-rated academy graduate Reece James as they see him as an important player for the future.

The 19-year-old is yet to play for Chelsea at senior level but enjoyed an eye-catching campaign on loan at Wigan Athletic in the Championship last season, making 45 appearances in total.

James’ excellent performances for the Latics did not go unnoticed as Crystal Palace identified him as a potential replacement for Aaron Wan-Bissaka who joined Manchester United for £50m.

However, according to the Daily Star, Chelsea rejected their bid for James as they want to keep him this season, in part due to their inability to sign any players after being banned by FIFA.

Frank Lampard has challenged his young players to stake a claim for a first-team place during pre-season but James has been unable to impress after suffering an ankle injury last month.

James sustained ligament damage while playing for England U20s against Chile in the Toulon tournament in June and had to undergo surgery to rectify the problem.

It means that he will miss the start of the season, although Chelsea are hopeful that he will be available for selection again in September.

James has been tipped to challenge long-serving Cesar Azpilicueta for his place at right-back, while he also performed well in a defensive midfield role for Wigan at times last season.